By Lisa Engel
Walter J. Lee is a USEF “R” rated judge and an internationally renowned hunter judge, trainer and breeder who’s held in highest regard by his industry peers. As owner and trainer of seven AHSA Grand Hunter Champions (the highest number ever trained by one person), Jimmy is chairman of the National Show Hunter Hall of Fame, vice-chairman of the International Horsemen’s Advisory Committee, past president of the Virginia Horse Shows Association, and formerly served on the board of the AHSA and The American Horse Council. Additionally, he is vice president of the Virginia Horse Industry Board and serves on the board of the International Hunter Futurity. He has trained over 125 VHSA year-end champions and AHSA Horse of the Year champions including Jet Run, South Side, Catalyst, Allegro, Free Ride, Doc O’Day, Macho, Obi-1-Knobee and Scot To Do.
Where do you live?
Keswick, Virginia, at Belcort Farm
What is your favorite vacation spot?
I don’t take vacations. I have a house on Cape Cod and if I have time, I go there.
How many hours a week do you work?
I judge horse shows a lot so I’m either judging, traveling to shows or working at the farm, so I’d say 10–12 hours a day.
How many hours a week do you play?
I don’t play much because I judge five days a week and at least one day a week is traveling. I love horse racing and follow that. If I can go to the races I will. I have a big interest in Hackney and Saddlebreds — all horses in one form another. I keep myself fresh by looking at other activities with horses.
How do you think we’ll do in the Olympics?
It certainly looks like we have a strong team made up of seasoned veterans and riders with international experience. But I admittedly don’t know about the other teams to say one way or the other.
What’s your favorite saddle?
I haven’t used one in a long time, but I like Hermes.
What one item in your wardrobe best personifies you?
I’m pretty much a blue blazer kind of guy.
What was the last movie you saw?
What was the last book you read?
I’m currently reading George Morris’ Unrelenting
What’s your favorite charity or non-profit organization?
What’s your drink of choice?
What’s your favorite timepiece?
What type of car do you drive?
1997 Lincoln Town Car
What’s your method of travel?
What was the name and breed of your first horse?
My first horse was called First Edition (since my family was in the newspaper business) and she was a Thoroughbred.
Name a person you’d most like to meet and why?
Wayne Lucas because he’s a winner and Hall of Fame racehorse trainer. He’s a great inspirational speaker.
What’s your favorite trait in a person?
Honesty and someone who’s responsible and a hard worker. Someone you can count on.
Describe yourself in three words.
Hard worker, passionate about what I do, dedicated
If you could be anywhere right now, where would it be and why?
On my farm. If I was going to be in a particular location, probably at the track in Del Mar.
What’s the most frequent charge on your credit card?
Meals — because I’m on the road so much for horse shows.
What’s your favorite credit card?
Name three things that are most likely to be in your refrigerator at all times.
Diet Coke, fruit and a good piece of beef
What’s the best feeling in the world?
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I’d like to be doing what I’m doing now. Retirement is not in my vocabulary. And, I’d love to own a racehorse.
Besides horses, what are your hobbies?
I fish a little but the main thing I do is the horses.
What’s your favorite color?
What TV sitcom is your favorite?
I don’t like sitcoms. But I do like “The Voice,” and maybe it’s because I judge, but I do know what I like.